/r/seduction

TofuTofu from /r/seduction gets slammed by Jezebel

/r/seduction

/r/Seduction is embroiled in controversy

I quite regularly browse through /r/seduction on Reddit, and often submit my blog posts there (thanks for the upvotes everyone). Recently, one of the /r/seduction moderators, a guy using the handle of TofuTofu started a kickstarter project to fund his new book Above the Game. I haven’t really read his stuff, but he didn’t strike me as a huge asshole, so I silently wished him luck in his endeavour.

However, yesterday Jezebel caught wind of his kickstarter, and found some quotes from his book that they used to justify saying his book “recommends sexual assault”. Here are the quotes they use to justify their position.

Get CLOSE to her, damn it!: To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! ”

“All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”

“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”

Sex: Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”

TofuTofu has deleted the original Reddit posts that would provide the context for these quotes, so all we have is the statements as they were quoted in the original article.

I have two recurring nightmares about my job as a Dating Coach. The first is that some idiot takes my “be confident, bold and assertive” advice and uses it as an excuse to hurt some poor young woman. The other nightmare I have is that an army of hysterical feminists accuse me of being a professional rapist because I teach guys to make a move. I feel kind of bad for TofuTofu.

But, looking at his quotes in the context I’ve been given them, I can’t condone what he says. Specifically, you should not “force her to rebuff your advances” – if your advances are being rebuffed, you should back off. I don’t advise guys to ask for permission by saying “can I kiss you, can I put my arm around you, etc”, but you should be always aware of her comfort zone and move forward slowly and deliberately, so she has an opportunity to see what you’re up to and go along with it or not. And if you sense (or are told) that the woman you’re with is uncomfortable, you should back off – a truly confident guy knows he’s not in a hurry, and that backing off doesn’t hurt his chances.

The /r/seduction controversy

I see this whole controversy from the lens of being a guy who was once paralyzed by my own insecurity, and afraid of expressing my sexuality lest I be  seen as some sort of creep. The idea that I could make a move, and be assertive, and that women would be turned on by this was mindblowing to me. My problem when I was younger was that I was blind to the “yes’s” that I got from women, and took “not yet’s” and “try harder’s” as complete rejections. I knew how to recognize when a woman wasn’t into me and when she was uncomfortable, what I didn’t know was how to recognize when she WAS comfortable, and waiting for me to hit on her. So I’m inclined to see TofuTofu’s advice as an honest mistake, good advice that simply wasn’t worded the right way, and didn’t have the proper caveats. The vast majority of the guys who go to sites like /r/seduction for advice are guys who are smart enough and decent enough that they would never dream of forcing themselves on a girl who was actually not into them, but this is the internet, and you shouldn’t presume that everyone who reads what you write is always smart and decent, especially when important things are at stake.

Of course, to see the controversy from this way, you need to have compassion and empathy for men, especially awkward men who are trying to improve themselves. That’s easy for me, because I’ve been there before. But, if there’s one thing that I think is wrong with modern feminism, it’s that it encourages women to close off their compassion for men.  When you say men are oppressors, or that they’re “privileged”  you’re declaring them unworthy of your compassion and empathy, and you can see that attitude in the way feminists react to people who disagree with them.

When you close off compassion to people, you lose your ability to understand them, you lose your ability to empathize with them, and you start yourself down the path towards hatred. I’m not a feminist, not because I don’t agree with the ideals of equality for women, but simply because for my entire life I have heard feminists talking about men in a way that makes it clear to me that they don’t understand me at all, or anyone I know. You can’t convince a person of something unless you first understand the way they think and see the world, and that’s why feminists have a hard time convincing people like myself of anything.

I try to teach empathy. I try to teach guys how to understand what a woman is feeling by watching the signals she gives, how she reacts to a tease or a light touch on the arm, and to make the appropriate moves. I try to teach them how to learn the difference between a girl who likes them but is shy, and a girl who is simply not into them. I try to teach them when to recognize when it’s time to make a bold move, and when it’s not. It’s hard (perhaps impossible) to put in writing, and difficult to teach. Guys screw up sometimes. But the real way you learn empathy is by having a decent model of how people work, and then gaining a lot of experience in interacting with those people (perhaps by chatting them up in bars).

Empathy isn’t easy. Time spent sitting in front of the computer or with your head stuck in a book, or spending time with people who are just like you are killers for empathy. Going out and interacting with people you would never otherwise meet and having fun and being uninhibited and sexy and romantic and trying new things are creators of empathy.

That’s why, I think what we teach at Love Systems is good for men. It’s not the manuals or tactics that make a difference in people’s lives, but the practice of going out and talking to people and flirting and creating a connection with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s about having your idea of the other sex based on reality and real experiences, and not on some simplifications or theories in some book or some blog.

I think that’s a good thing. And I’m not going to apologize for it.

 

Chris ShepherdTofuTofu from /r/seduction gets slammed by Jezebel
  • http://gravatar.com/cousindupree1 Dr. Dupree

    I think it is such bullsh*t that Tofu has been thrown under the bus! Chris, you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. I say that because I believe that Love Systems also teaches men to behave similarly. This is not a bad thing. The quotes used for emphasis have been spun to make Tofu look bad when we all know that to be aggressive is good. Women want that. To have your advances “rebuffed” is no big deal. It just means to progress to the point of rejection and then try again. That is normal. Women have strong minds of their own. If things have gotten to the point of a PUA putting his cock in her hand, she has tacitly agreed to this. The language used is just indelicate and of course will not sound pc to a feminist or lesbian pick up artist.

    • http://www.tenmagnet.com/dating-coach/ Chris Shepherd

      I’m trying to express a nuanced opinion. And no, Love Systems doesn’t teach the same thing that TofuTofu teaches, we teach guys to be bold but to listen when you hear “no”. That’s a very important distinction.

    • Et tu, Tenmagnet?

      Couldn’t agree more. Tofu’s advice is practical and solid advice taken totally out of context by Jezebel (a site that makes money off of misandry) to call Tofu a rapist. The only mistake here is apologizing to them and dancing to their whimsical destruction of his work which is completely focused on self improvement.

      To quote this blog post: “The first is that some idiot takes my “be confident, bold and assertive” advice and uses it as an excuse to hurt some poor young woman.” All aboard the WhiteKnight express. Choo Choo!!

      Don’t throw your fellows under the bus, especially for the trash at Jezebel. Not a good look for you, Tenmagnet.

  • A Feminist

    I agree with the core of everything you say here. But given the reference to feminists, i feel the need to make a few comments:

    1. Feminism isn’t a bad word. There are a ton of different types of feminists out there. The early era of feminism was one in which a woman’s professional success and her personal/social success was a zero-sum game, so yea, no wonder some of them are bitter. Today, that no longer needs to be the case. Same with the pua community. Some guys in books like “the game” were exploitative boys who took out their insecurities on women; today, that no longer needs to be the case.

    2. What feminists may be reacting negatively to is the rhetoric in pua materials. This is prevalent in almost all blogs (yours is probably the most innocuous one out there), including instructor blogs. Every paragraph is peppered with words regarding beauty and rankings of beauty (HB 9,10) as a defining characteristic of women. The ratio of references to beauty versus references to any other trait seems to be 100:1. As a feminist (and one who does like to doll up every once in a while and looks damn good doing so), I hate that. Also, the focus on gaming strippers and pornstars and playboy bunnies, essentially women who most likely already have tons of emotional baggage, isn’t the classiest advertisement. Pua industry rhetoric also focuses on sex as if it was the be-all-and-end-all of male-female interactions. Have you read women’s self-help lit and blogs? They focus on connection. Sex is just one subset of human connection, so the mindsets certainly do not need to be mutually exclusive, but let’s not forget that other components of connection are equally meaningful and rewarding.

    3. Empathy is a 2-way street. You think men are self-conscious and insecure? Societal pressure makes women equally, if not more, self-conscious and insecure. Every woman knows that beauty fades, and if that’s what we’re valued on, then the more beautiful a woman, the more worried she is. It’s the old analogy that women are depreciating assets and men are appreciating assets, which is true if the determinants of value are those very traits that pua rhetoric focuses on. I hope that those traits are NOT the true determinants of value in a fulfilling life. So I just hope that when guys see advertisements that this pua-science has been “tested on tens of thousands of approaches” and that they should go out and systematically work themselves through as many approaches as possible, they should remember that women are not lab rats who go to bars hoping to be a participant in a pick-up-science experiment. Stupid as it may sound, women are people too….

    4. This is slightly off-topic. But I want to go back to a reply you made to one of my comments a while back, that there is always the risk of falling into the naturalistic fallacy, and that ultimately we decide what side we want to cultivate. I completely agree with you and am glad that you verbalize that. At the end of the day, pick-up is just a tool towards a more fulfilling social life, the same way that knowing how to put on make-up is a tool for women, or that appeasing your boss is a tool towards professional success. But there are guys who become enamored with that tool itself, and forget the goal that tool was intended for. I think a lot of coaches say that they don’t judge their students’ intentions and are agnostic about how their students want to use pick up. But why? Isn’t that like giving a gun to a boy, but not teaching him about gun safety, hunting regulations, or maybe even animal conservationism? At the end of the day, he may be feeling more confident and powerful, but that doesn’t justify the carcasses he may have left lying around.

  • Jai Zaken

    Interesting post man, I’ve always felt like many PUA’s are void of ethics and that they are F*#ing themeselves over because of it, sucks what selfishness can do to other people, wrote a bit about that at http://www.thepuablog.com , hope you can work this all out man!